tv John King USA CNN April 9, 2012 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
>> jeanie moos, cnn, new york. >> pretty good, bubba watson. congratulations. excellent masters tournament. thanks very much for joining us. i am wolf blitzer in "the situation room." the news continues next on cnn. >> good evening. i am john king. a big decision by the special prosecutor from the trayvon martin case, why no grand jury. does that make it less likely or more likely the shooter george zimmerman will face charges? north korea prepares a rocket launch and prepares a nuclear test. what are we learning about the young untested leader? and as president obama promotes the buffet rule, tonight's truth ex plorz how team obama hopes to create a romney rule. start with the big development in the trayvon martin case. one woman will now decide if the neighborhood watch than that
admits to shooting and killing trayvon martin will be arrested and charged. special prosecutor angela corey has chosen not to use a grand jury to investigate the florida teenager's death. it is up to her to figure out whether to file charges against george zimmerman or drop the case altogether. ♪ >> as you can see there, peaceful protests and unrelenting protests marching to the sanford police department demanding an immediate arrest. david mattingly is live in sanford tonight. a lot of people say this was an unexpected move but not the family attorney. let's listen. >> anticipating that there will be no grand jury because the family has always been hopeful that they would there would simply be an arrest. we believe from day one that they had enough evidence to arrest the killer of trayvon martin. >> help us understand, david, why do they think this is good
news? >> well, by going to a grand jury, it could have given off signals the prosecutor in this case wasn't 100% certain that she had what it takes to get george zimmerman arrested and then tried for that offense. what this is saying now, though, is by taking this off the table, angela corey is cautioning everyone not to read anything into this about which way her office might be leaning as they continue with their investigation. so at this point no one can really say for sure what angela corey will do. one thing is certain. she is sitting squarely in the hot seat and is taking on that role of the decision maker in this case. she will decide the future of george zimmerman. >> she will be the focus in the days ahead. what about the zimmerman's family lawyer? what do they say? >> well, he did release a brief comment today to cnn. hal uhrig did say he is not surprised. he doesn't know what her decision will be ultimately about how this case is pursued,
but he did say it was a courageous move on her part getting back to the idea that she is taking full responsibility for this and not going to a grand jury to make that big decision about whether or not george zimmerman should be arrested. >> and, david, finally, she said she would tray it this way, make the decision. did she give any hint of a timetable? >> no hint of a timetable, and by taking the grand jury off of the table here, there is no schedule now. we knew that a grand jury would have to be called. we knew it would have to be seated. now the grand jury isn't involved she is not only in control of the decision in this case, she is also in control of the timetable. she is going to make this decision when she is ready to. >> david mattingly live on the scene in sanford. bring in senior legal analyst jeffrey toobin and sunny hostin in new york. we just heard from lawyer from both sides. sunny, i want to go to you first. if you're george zimmerman, the
man facing the potential charges, is this a good or bad development? >> i don't think you can read into it either way. that's the bottom line. especially because angela corey said from the very beginning when she got involved in this case on march 22nd that in her experience when it comes to the justifiable use of force, which sort of has been banded around in this case from the very beginning, she had never convened a grand jury. the grand jury date of april 10th was the grand jury date set by the predecessor, the former state attorney handling this case, so i think if you are trayvon martin's family or george zimmerman and george zimmerman's family, you really can't read that much into this decision. ats a decision from the very beginning she sort of gave us all notice of. >> and, jeff, stay focused on the law that sunny is talking about, the florida stand-your-ground law that says you can use deadly force if a person is attacked anywhere and has the right to believe, the
right he believes is necessary to prevent death or serious injury. if you take that to a grand jury and you're the prosecutor and you think the person acted wrongly f you thought mr. zimmerman should face charges, you're taking a risk when you bring it to essentially a jury, right? >> you are taking a risk and you are also possibly passing the buck. sometimes prosecutors use grand juries as a way of saying, well, i thought the case was worth presenting, but the grand jury decided not to bring it. it is sometimes the way prosecutors use grand juries. here i think the prosecutor does deserve credit for being courageous and saying this is my decision and that's true in the last majority of cases in florida. most cases in florida are not presented to grand juries. they're decided on by the prosecutors, and i think that's probably the appropriate case here. there is no reason to bring in a grand jury. there are not a lot of witnesses here whose testimony is in dispute. the cops can interview people, and present their information to
the prosecutor. >> and she was with us a little more than a week ago on this program and i asked her about the highly plit sized nature of this case and so many public figures getting involved and demanding an immediate arrest and this was her take. >> the political outcry makes the job harder because any time there is a misunderstanding of the process based on what we are required to do under florida law, it does make our job more difficult. we think what they will see in the long run is that this is a complicated law. it is an affirm tif defense, justifiable use of deadly force, but we will leave no stone unturned in our quest to seek justice for trayvon and his parents. >> sunny, when you hear that, leave no stone unturned she also said she hoped to have at least a preliminary report within two weeks which means sometimes in the next several days. anything surprise you there? >> well, it does surprise me she used the term seeking justice for trayvon martin and his family. that does surprise me. i think most prosecutors try to
stay away from ultimate words like that, seeking justice because that's what the prosecutor's job is of course, seeking the truth and seeking justice. i think something that is also very interesting, john, in this case is had it gone to a grand jury, in florida, a grand jury consists of no less than 15 grand jurors and no more than 21. in order to get an indictment you have to have the vote of at least 12. with a complicated law like this, with the justifiable use of force defense, that's a very difficult concept for lay people, and it is possible that you present a case like that and in front of, you know, 21 people, and you may not get an indictment. i think it was smart strategically actually for angela corey to decide to shoulder this burden on her own. >> jeff, put yourself in the special prosecutor's shoes for a moment. what is she looking for now? do you believe they has the information she needs or is the public scrutiny in this case in
a way helping her? >> i think that is really the key question here. what is the evidence? we have talked about this case a great deal. obviously it is a horrendous tragedy when a 17-year-old boy goes to buy skittles and winds up getting killed, but the key moment in this case between when zimmerman calls 911 and when the shots are fired, what happened then? we don't know. presumably she has gone and found witnesses. she has gone and found any sort of evidence relating to those key moments and that's what matters most, not what we think, not what the protesters think, the evidence, that's what she's going to get and i hope it leads her in a clear direction one way or the other. >> we will find out. some people say not soon enough. thanks for your help tonight. now turning to a maj overseas development. at least 143 people died across syria today despite the government's promise to implement a peace pln and its promise to start pulling
fighters out of population centers by tomorrow. instead, the killings reported again today in a half a dozen cities. violence also spread across the borders are turkey and lebanon. 19 wounded when gun fire hit refugees trying to make their way to a camp across the turkish border. in just a moment susan rice tells us whether there is any hope at all for a diplomatic solution to the crisis. >> should the syrian government yet again refuse to implement its commitments, make promises and then break them and continue and escalate the killing, then i think it will be clear to all that there isn't yet a prospect for diplomatic solution. >> ambassador rice has tough warnings for north korea and isn't alone. the worldwide pressure to stop the launch of a rocket capable of carrying weapons into space. fore! no matter what small business you are in, managing expenses seems to... get in the way.
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stan grant to visit the launch pad. >> see with your own eyes and you can judge whether it is blasting missile or launch to show that's why we invite you to this launch site. >> we get the grand tour today showing all around the site, the control center, even the actual satellite that will be launched into space on the rocket. one independent european analyst visiting the site says sees nothing to be concerned about. >> i don't know what they want to do in future. today what we see is a space launch. >> to travel to the site is get an all too rare glimpse of the window in what's dubbed the hermit kingdom. >> on this train traveling for five hours until we get to the
satellite launch site. >> from the carriage of the train a baron landscape, people scattered washing the harsh fields and a country where many people struggle to eat. not an issue north korea an officials were keen for me to pursue. >> is it more important than food? >> what was the question again? >>. [ speaking foreign language ] >> don't want to answer that? >> a country obsessed with self-defense and presenting a strong face to the world, this they argue is money well spent. anyway, as we are constantly reminded, this is a satellite launch, not a missile test. >> despite north korea's assurances, the skepticism is going to remain, particularly from the united states, always weary about the intentions of an unpredictable country. stan grant, cnn, north korea.
>> the senior advisor for the strategic international studies is the author of the "impossible state", and you see the footage and the rocket and you hear the south korea ans saying a possible nuclear test. what are they doing? >> i think as the piece said clearly, they're doing a satellite launch this time. the concern of the united states and others in the international community have is they can launch a missile, a ballistic missile using the same technology so that's what we're testing as they put this satellite into orbit. >> if they follow it up with a missile test, and what does that say about the untested leader? >> he is trying to do two things. he is trying to establish himself in the country as a bony afined nuclear weapons state and and the other is he is trying to consolidate his power. it is a young and untested leader and he has a lot to prove to people older than him, generals and others, and the af
north korean. >> sometimes in the past and you know this from working inside the government, some people say north korea does these provocations like a screaming child, to get attention. is that what this is about, to get back into negotiations or is this more about domestic politics, do you think? >> i am concerned that it is more than just that this time. it is in part because the provocations are coming so closely together. the obama administration may see two ballistic missile tests, attacks on south korea and two nuk already tests and it is a come pabl r pact timeframe so i think they are moving in a different direction and want to assure everybody they have the ultimate security guarantee and now a nuclear weapons state. >> if you sit in the national security council meetings and the president wants a recommendation, what is it. >> it is the land of louzy options. you have to go to unsecurity council and get them to stop this launch which won'ting successful and you have to work on china to get the chinese to pinch them harder to get them to
stop doing these. >> i read the recent essay. you say it should be obvious why wouldn't china want to be tougher. the problem is they don't want to pinch them too hard so the regime collapses and then you get a military ally of the united states directly on china's border. it is something they don't want to see. >> fascinating. thank you so much for your help. a warning to russia and china from the u.s. ambassador to the united nations. susan rice says they have blood on their hands and the navy takes quick action to compensate people that lost their homes there in friday's jet crash.
welcome back. here is lisa sylvester with the latest news you need to know right now. >> hi, john. good to be here. an oklahoma judge today set bail at $9 million each for the suspects in a string of shootings in tulsa. jake england and alvin watts are accused of shooting five people in a predominantly african-american neighborhood last friday. three of the victims died. prosecutors are considering hate crime charges. post to england's facebook page just before the shooting used racial slurs in describing his father's killing by an african-american man two years ago. the navy is wasting no time in compensating victims of friday's fighter jet crash into a residential area in virginia beach. payments will begin at around $2,300 per person and that amount will increase based on the number of family members. in a statement the navy wrote we
owe it to everyone affected by friday's accident to help them get their lives back together. amazingly, no one died in the crash. facebook is going to buy the widely popular photo sharing service instant gram for $1 billion. it let's smartphone photographers customize pictures and share them with friends. this is facebook's biggest buy yet. insta gram has 30 million users. mark zuckerberg broke the news on his facebook page saying it will offer users the best photo sharing experience. another mega millions winner claimed their prize. we still don't know who it is but maryland lottery officials say they will share the story in a public news conference this morning. no word if it is the mcdonald's workers that made waves saying she bought one of the three winning tickets. each one of those tickets is worth over $100 million after taxing. a mystery will be solved. >> are you going to be at work
tomorrow? >> i will. >> so it is not you. >> definitely not me, sorry. i guess it is not you either. >> i will be right here. congratulations to the lucky winner. >> somebody is lucky. >> maybe they will buy us a beer. still ahead president obama's upcoming push to raise taxes on minimum millionaires and the political twist on the latest release of videos showing government workers making fun of wasting your money. everything that i've gained in life has been because of the teachers and the education that i had. they're just part of who i am. she convinced me that there was no limit to what we could learn. i don't think i'd be here today had i not had a wonderful science teacher. a teacher can make a huge difference in a child's life. he would never give up on any of us. thank you dr. newfield. you had a big impact on me. if you want a luxury car with a standard power moonroof, your options are going to be limited.
in the half hour ahead strong words from the u.s. ambassador to the united nations. she tells russia and china they have blood on their hands. the truth about where president obama is making wealth an issue in the re-election campaign and outrageous videos of government workers making fun of their job. this time pay attention to who leaked them and why. tomorrow is the deadline for syrian forces to begin pulling out of cities across the country, but over the weekend syrian officials began imposing new conditions including insisting they get a written commitment from opposition groups to lay down their weapons and no let up at all in the violence. check in with the u.n. ambassador susan rice. if the syrians fail to keep their word, what happens then? >> john, we have been watching this situation with great concern as it obviously has been a window in which the sir can government is escalated the violence rather than diminishing
it as they're required to do in order to adhere to commitments tomorrow. from the u.s. point of view we'll view these developments as a blatant breach yet again of the syrian government's commitments, and we think that requires a significant response from the international community. the question as always will be whether russia and china which have been reluctant to hold syria and the government accountable will be ready to do so now. >> and that is the big question, but let me ask you, answer the critics who say the united nations and kofi annan have been played and the death toll has gone up by more than 1,000 and that asad used this did i diplomacy as cover to kill more people. >> i don't think it is a question of the united nations or ann an being played. i think both in the security counsel and the annan himself have been clear i'd about the syrian government, its motives and behavior to date. the question is whether there is still the opportunity, however
slim, for there to be a diplomatic resolution to this over year-long conflict. the u.n. estimates over 9,000 have died ore the year and indeed a result of brutal government intent on using all kinds of violence to inflict its will. the worst case scenario which still may not most likely scenario is this evolves into full scale civil war. the reason why the international community has given annan and his plan backing it it remaining the really practically speaking the last viable chance for there to be a negotiated settlement. should the syrian government yet again refuse to implement its commitments, make promises and then break them, and continue to escalate the killing, then i think it will be clear to all that there isn't yet a prospect for diplomatic solution. we still hope that's possible. we still want to give that a
final chance, but i don't think we or anybody else are particularly optimistic. >> and a month ago you were on the program and we were talking about the same issue. i want you to listen to your own words. at that point you said publicly some progress was being made. >> the pressure is mounting, the economic pressure very importantly is also mounting and the united states, european union, countries neighboring syria have put on tougher and tougher sanctions, and we see the currency crashing. we see businesses having real difficulty thriving, so the noose around the in he can neck tightening. >> it remains the case and the pressure on asad has built. that was what i was talking about, whether the isolation and the economic pressure is significant. it is significant and indeed growing, but that doesn't mean the killing has yet ended. what it does mean as i said back then is that his time is finite. we have seen today the violence potentially spilling over into
turkey and that will lead countries in the neighborhood that have already expressed to step up and limit the influence of the syrian regime. that fact remains. the question as we were discussing is will the violence continue and can that worst case scenario of a potential full scale civil war still be possibly aeither haved by dip l diplomatic approach. >> and if china and russia say no to the tougher steps, what happens then? what would your recommendation be? >> i am not going to share with you my recommendation to the president but the u.s. view is clear. asad's days are limited. the international community, the states and the region, the united states, european partners, the states in the gulf, are going to continue and intensify the economic and political pressure on asad. we're actively increasing support to unify and strengthen
the coherence of opposition. we're providing non-lethal support to the op fix. we're putting in place mechanisms to ensure eventual real accountability for those in the regime that committed crimes. we're ramping up our efforts to provide humanitarian assistance. this conflict is already overly mill tar eyes rized and those looking to militaryize it more will think twice. we will continue to maximize the political and economic pressure on the regime and we'll continue to support in ways political and economic and otherwise the opposition until asad is removed from power. >> when you see your colleagues from china and russia, what do you tell them? >> we tell them they have blood on their hands. there is upon them the responsibility to use the influence they have to end the killing of the assad regime. >> let me shift your attention to the korean peninsula. north korea has a rocket now on
the launch pad and south korea says it sees evidence it is about to also conduct another nuclear test. what should the sanctions be? what should the consequences be with both of those developments happen? >> both, either or both developments, john, would be a blatant violation of north korea's international obligations under security counsel resolution 1718 and 1874. sure, they move beyond such a provocative step as a missile launch to a nuclear test, obviously their isolation will only increase. in the security council in new york i anticipate the council would convene to discuss this and to respond in a credible fashion, both to the missile launch and to any potential additional subsequent actions. >> the u.s. ambassador to the united nations, susan rice, appreciate your time in a biz and i intense time in your work life. >> good to be here. >> president obama leds to florida to renew his push to raise taxes on millionaires and
billionaires, the butffet rule. receipts bring. isn't it risky to run in a re-election campaign and say i want to raise taxes? >> yes, it is unusual, isn't it, john? in this case polls show a majority of americans do support the buffett rule when the details are spelled out more than 60% say they support it, and even republicans say they support it when you spell it out. in this particular case what democrats proposed and will be voting on in a procedural vote next week is that folks making more than a million dollars a year should pay 30% on that income. of course it is all in the war of words and how it is described, so the white house has to be careful about describing it in the right way in order to win on the campaign trail, john. >> as they try to make the case
and the president says he himself would pay higher taxes and thinks should and warren buffett thinks he should, they also have mitt romney in mind. >> yes, they made to bones about that and even were asked and weren't shy about pointing out that mitt romney admitted that he himself paid less than 15% rate in taxes himself and that he supports a rate that benefits folks like him, and they're using this in part to draw a distinction and point out that mitt romney is a rich guy in essence, and underscore their commitment and the president's commitment to the middle class which is a key component of the campaign he wants to wage which is defining himself in their words as a sort of champion of the middle class and against mitt romney who they would argue is not, so there you see that campaign taking shape, not taking shape, already off and
running, john, with this message. >> off and running and the volume escalating. jessica. thanks. we'll continue this in a moment. remember this, in 2004 republicans got plenty of mileage out of photos of john kerry wind surfing. the truth about cold hard cash and personal wealth and how it influences voter views about candidates. just stay off the freeways, all right? i don't want you going out on those yet. mmm-hmm. and just leave your phone in your purse. i don't want you texting, all right? daddy...ok! ok, here you go. be careful. thanks dad. call me -- but not while you're driving. ♪ [ dad ] we knew this day was coming. that's why we bought a subaru. ♪
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politics and this year no exception. it is also clear and reinforced just today that wealth will also be an issue. president obama prefers to frame it as a fairness question and will spend time this week starting tomorrow promoting what he calls the buffet rule, a requirement that families making more than a million dollars a year should pay at least as big a share of their income in taxes as the middle class and team obama believes focusing on the buffett rule helps them exploit what they might call the romney rule. what's romney hiding barack obama tweeted last week asking people to tweet @mitt romney to demand he release his tax returns. he has released some but still a lot we don't know about his assets. team obama says voters deserve full disclosure. the truth is the prosecute you are is about much more than that, and it is borrowed from a playbook republicans used before. remember these guys? democratic nominees al gore and john kerry, they lost competitive elections, one very, very, very competitive in part because republic an as spent a lot of time suggesting they just
weren't like you, too elitist, to different, maybe too affluent. romney on this question has helped the democratic cause some. >> i am in this race about americans. i am not concerned about the very poor. >> i like being able to fire people that provide services to me. >> there are some that think romney did it again easter weekend by allowing family photos to be made public. he has a pricey beach house in california. i am not sure about the photos. boogy boarding is more common and blue collar than wind surfing and like his politics or not governor romney has a great family. some voters will be surprised he knows how to have fun. there is no escaping he is wealthy. very wealthy. romney's 2010 income topped $21 million. president obama made 1.7 million. that's not poor but it is certainly not in romney's. thenl that plays into their
campaign strategy. president obama and other democrats push tax hikes on the rich and polling shows most voters want the rich to pay more and truth is romney has a steep hill as he argues the president's approach is wrong. look at the stunning numbers. 26% of voters say president obama's policies favor the rich, a whopping 65% say that about governor romney: when democrats tweet about the wealth, it is about their strategy to keep it a problem. let's talk truth with michael crowley, maria cardona and alice stewart. i know you are with the santorum campaign and we're not in general election mode yet but on this question when the democrats say it is fairness to raise taxes on the wealth and i the president will be out there, he is going off romney and all republicans saying you have to raise taxes and the rich have to pay their fair share. why shouldn't they? >> it is not about imposing more
taxes on the wealth whoi are the job create krors in this country. it is about cutting spending. we don't need to impose more taxes on people creating jobs. we noo he had to look at the ryan plan that cuts spending. that will go a long way to reducing debt. the buffet rule will make an impact only by.2% and the ryan plan will have a 15% reduction on the debt. that's the thing we need to look at. we don't need to tax people creating jobs. we need to reduce spending which is the last thing the obama administration is looking at. >> bill clinton was successful saying if i am elected i will raise taxes on the rich and republicans say it was because of ross perot but he made the case and saying i will cut taxes on the middle class and raise them on the wealthy and it is risky. >> i think he can sell it and president clinton is one of the reasons he can sell it. not only did he get elected by making partly that argument, he also implemented it when he became president and we enjoyed the greatest economic expansion that we had in a generation. i think americans understand the issue of fairness.
that's why i think when you say cut spending, cut spending, cut spending, they also understand we can't cut watdeficits to a balanced debt so you when you put the obama plan forward they understand that a lot better than the campaign slogans. it is about fairness. when you have millionaires and billionaires paying more than middle class teachers and teachers losing their jobs because there isn't enough spending to go around for what you need spending for, then i think this is something that they really understand. >> if you look at the polling and polls consistent with this, nearly two-thirds of americans say they favor it. it is a tough argument for republicans anyway. is it a tougher argument when you are a very wealthy guy like mitt romney who can seem distant. >> i think so. i think that's why you see enthusiasm on part of the obama campaign. they have a double wam i and a winning issue, maybe a character issue with the opponent.
so they're not only spotlighting what they think this is a policy advantage on taxes but reminding people that mitt romney had his is a mega millionaire and who is paying pretty low tax rates on his investment. i think they think it is a double win. the republican comeback will be spending in the size of government. i think that that is a strong argument for republicans right now. what you're seeing already is the obama campaign hitting that argument saying let's get specific about what spending we'll cut and that's where it will be won or lost, the idea of spending in the abstract and the deficit makes them unhappy and when you say this program, that program, medicare, social security, when they can regain the advantage and we'll see who wins >> if you were advising governor romney to be more like normal people, to give, to show more, some people were saying there is picture from california were a bad thing. i was arguing maybe not. people see him with his family and see him looser and boogy boarding is not wind surfing, no
offense but what would you tell him to do. >> you forgot to mention where he is seeking a special permit to build an elevator for his car. >> you don't have a car elevator at home. >> sorry, one car, not much space i need. >> nothing to elevate. >> the point is clearly romney is basically out of touch with many americans. there is no doubt about that. what we need to look at with the buffet rule, it is not about taxing job creators. they like to throw around the world wealthy and upper class and millionaires. they're the job creators. the more you put them in a higher tax bracket, the less they're able to create jobs and give raises and it is not about taxing wealthy. it is about cutting spending. look at the gsa, there is a goodes place to cut money. we need to cut spending. that's where we're going to go a long way to reducing the debt and getting that economy back on track. >> does the president carry this right up until election day or if next month's job report is like last month's job report and shows an anemic economy and
maybe the republicans feel confident to say don't do this to alice's point, the people that create jobs, you can't do this now, the president blinked in the past and democrats have not liked it and is there a fear especially in the base of the party that he blinks again? >> i think there is some fear about that. i also think you have confidence this is a president who knows what the winning argument is to your point and i do think he takes it until election day even if the next jobs report isn't as high as expectations. i wouldn't call it a bad jobs report. it is a good jobs reports when you have 100,000 jobs being created. to your point, these millionaires and billionaires are not the biggest job creators in this country. the biggest job creators are small and medium-sized businesses. what this president has done is cut taxes 16 times for american small and medium-sized businesses and we were happy to see that republicans joined him in the jobs act to do even more so that those real job creators can continue to create jobs for the country. >> if i were to go to the map and we did the senate race this is year, are the democrats in
trouble? are they going to proudly stand with the president when it comes to raising taxes on the wealthy? the polling says you can do it now. >> i think so it depends on where you talk about, for instance, a state like massachusetts might be different than a southern or western state and we'll have to see how obama's standing survives the economy over the next few months. i just do think ultimately the taxation issue, high income taxation is a winning issue for the democrats and i really think it will come back to this issue of spending and what programs you cut. very interesting is mitt romney's re tort, he is taking obama is the one out of touch. he is in a bubble. he flies around on air force one and surrounded by yes man and that damaged some presidents before. obama hasn't had a moment like bush but he needs to be careful there is not a gaffe that becomes a defining moment, the kind of thing athat could be really playing to the republicans hands. >> quickly, your candidates senator santorum off for a
couple days because his daughter is doing worse. >> she is doing better. examine wanted to get out later this evening, and rick should be back on the campaign trail first thing tomorrow morning and a lot of new events added to the schedule. in pen approximapennsylvania th and thank goodness the prayers are answered and bella is doing better. >> our thoughts and prayers to the family as well. maria, michael, that nkz to are coming in. a require look at the wives, children, of osama bin laden left behind plus more of the videos you just heard alice talk b the stock pile of u.s. government workers making fun of their jobs and making fun of wasting your money. ♪
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another government official was placed on administrative leave today in the scandal over wasteful spending by an important government agency called the general services administration. that makes eight people placed on leave or forced out. the scandal centers on a 2010 gsa conference in las vegas that ran up a tab of nearly a million taxpayer dollars and produced a string of embarrassing videos. dana bash has seen the latest batch. ♪ >> reporter: hoping to limit the political damage, the obama administration headed out to selective media outlets an hour's worth of new embarrassing gsa video over the holiday weekend. among the see it to believe it clips, government workers
appearing to mock the president for his green jobs initiative. it's yet another submission for a video awards ceremony which cnn first reported on last week, a talent show at a lavish 2010 gsa convention in las vegas which cost taxpayers over $800,000. but house oversight chairman darrell issa said the administration conspicuous leo mitd a key part of this video, evidence, he says, gsa were making these videos during a taxpayer-funded work day. >> that was amazing. was there anybody in region 7 that wasn't in that thing? >> if they worked -- if they didn't work on friday, chances are they weren't in the video. >> reporter: still, what the administration did release is damaging. in this video, a man dressed as an angry clown makes fun of government meetings. >> i think meetings are good to have in between breaks. >> reporter: and in this one, government employees minimum micking the movie "office space" appear to destroy government property.
and at the las vegas conference where the videos were played, listen to this brazen boasting. >> over and over the top, unforgettable team-build experience. how did we do on that one? >> reporter: that's jeff neely, an acting gsa administrator for the pacific region. here he is on the events red carpet. yes, a make-believe red carpet on a government conference. >> i am wearing all armani. i think what i'd like people to take home is to dispense with the notion that what's done in vegas stays in vegas and to really leave with what's done in vegas needs to be shared with everybody. >> reporter: and what is this government employee's talent? >> i have a talent for drinking margaritas? >> now how is it the gsa gave you that talent?
>> this is my commitment to our go green initiative. >> reporter: in response to all that the gsa released almost the exact same statement that they released last week, where they said these videos reinforce a complete lack of judgment at that 2010 conference. that the agency, quote, continues to be appalled by in indefensible behavior. >> it is indefensible but is it new behavior? what about the bush years? >> reporter: in terms of the behavior, we don't know. but in terms of the spending, which is really what the committees on the hill started to go after, it's not new. in fact the administration, the current administration, the obama folks have sent us some raw number that say they say prove that spending went up big-time during the bush years. 600% in the second term alone. that's a lot in terms of spending. what did they spend that on? we don't know. the democrats, you can expect them to be pressing obama officials and other officials big time because there are going to be a slew of hearings on all this when congress returns from spring break next week. >> what we know so far is
outrageous. dana bash, thanks. lisa sylvester is back with the latest news you need to know right now. well, after spending about a year under house arrest, osama bin laden's widows around children will be flown from pakistan to their home countries of yemen and saudi arabia next week. cnn obtained this recent video showing the women dressed in black burqas and playing while the children play with toy bats, balls and a teddy bear. and the u.s. is giving afghanistan control overnight raids and other controversial special operations missions. the two countries signed a landmark deal that says nato forces need explicit permission from afghan officials for those operations. u.s. ambassador ryan crocker says it's a major stable toward a stable afghanistan before the 2014 troop withdrawal deadline. here's more fuel for the global warming debate. this past march was the warmest since the u.s. started keeping records way back in 1896. government meteorologists
recorded some 7700 record highs last month. they also say the three-month period of january, february and march was the warmest first quarter ever recorded in the lower 48 states. and some people may call this tempting fate. right now about 1300 people are cruising the north atlantic following the same route the titanic took 100 years ago. the crews offer history lectures and a stop in nova scotia where many of the titanic victims are buried. early saturday morning it's scheduled to be in the exact spot the ill-fated ship struck an iceberg. so they are repeating that journey 100 years later. >> would you do it? >> i'm a little suspicious. i would take another trip. >> a history buff, if you want to learn the history, what better place. >> and i'm sure that's very exciting on the trip for those folks. but me personally, no. >> we look forward to hearing some of the stories when they go to shore. finally, the moment you've probably missed.
today's white house easter egg roll. president obama couldn't resist showing off his basketball chops. first from the foul line and back from three-point range. either way, well, this one didn't go too well. he finally sank that one right there but it was too late. video of all the bricks made it on the internet provoking a string of snarky tweets and comments. even flagged by someone at the republican national committee. in the president's defense, he's a pretty good basketball player. we all have our -- >> and he was also trying it from the three-point line so let's give it a little context. you know -- >> but if you want to go on television during the ncaa basketball tournament and talk about your game and invite clark kellogg out to the court, when the camera is rolling, you've got to make them. >> i'm cringing a little bit just watching them because you want to us show us your game. we've heard so much about it. >> hitting the rim